On May 7, 2020, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) released the results of a March 12, 2020 study conducted by Paul Demers and colleagues of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC).
The study found an increased risk of Parkinson's and parkinsonism among McIntyre Powder-exposed miners in Ontario, Canada.
The study also found an increased risk of Alzheimer's and motor neuron disease associated with miners overall in Ontario, Canada. This would be of particular interest to anyone diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), since the researchers noted that 70% of all motor neuron disease cases are ALS.
The study concluded: "This study found an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease associated with exposure to McIntyre Powder among Ontario miners, in comparison to both unexposed miners and the general population of Ontario. The risk appeared to increase with duration of exposure and was stronger for people exposed after 1956, when the formulation was changed to decrease the particle sizes. The association was also stronger for gold miners than uranium miners. No association was found between McIntyre Powder exposure and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or motor neuron disease, although miners overall had an increased risk compared to the general population. These other associations deserve further research to identify whether they may be related to other suspected neurological hazards in mining." (INVESTIGATION OF MCINTYRE POWDER EXPOSURE AND NEUROLOGICAL OUTCOMES IN THE MINING MASTER FILE COHORT: FINAL REPORT - Occupational Cancer Research Centre, March 12, 2020).
Between 1943 and 1979-80, employees at many mines, factories, and industries were required by their employers to inhale McIntyre Powder (finely ground aluminum dust) each work shift, on the unproven theory (since disproven) that it would prevent the lung disease silicosis. McIntyre Powder was used in mines and factories in Canada, United States, Western Australia, Mexico, Chile, and the Belgian Congo, plus Geevor Tin Mine in England. For a list of known industries that were licensed to use McIntyre Powder, see our "Resources" tab.
If you (or your deceased loved one) worked in mining, factories, or industries where McIntyre Powder may have been used and you have Parkinson's or parkinsonism, you may be eligible for workers' compensation, or your Estate may be eligible for survivor benefits. Contact the local workers' compensation authority in the province/state/country where you (or your loved one) worked. In Ontario, Canada, you can make a claim by contacting the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) at: 1-800-387-0750.
If you (or your deceased loved one) worked in mining in Ontario and you are/were diagnosed with Alzheimer's or motor neuron disease (particularly ALS), you may also wish to contact the Ontario WSIB to make a claim.
For further information, you are welcome to contact the McIntyre Powder Project founder, Janice Martell, at 1-800-461-7120.
The Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) administers the workers' compensation system in Ontario, Canada. Documents obtained from WSIB under a Freedom of Information request provide concerning evidence of systemic imbalance at the peril of workers afflicted by occupational diseases and their families - particularly workers in mining, building trades, and factory work, who are at high risk of developing occupational diseases.
An open letter video to the Ontario WSIB by the founder of the McIntyre Powder Project is posted under the "Links" section of this website. Please take the time to view this video, which outlines critical flaws in the workers' compensation system and provides the rationale and evidence needed for us to change the system. Thank you!
Uranium Miners who participated in the Sputum Cytology program can now request copies of their records from the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada.
The sputum cytology program was a voluntary screening program for uranium miners to monitor cell changes in their sputum (spit) to screen for possible lung cancer.
The data historically collected from uranium miners under the sputum cytology program was stored on floppy discs. Some of that data was recovered, and personal records can be requested by each individual miner or their Estate by contacting the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada by phone, letter, or email. Please see contact information below, as provided by the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada.
Contact: Curtis B. Caldwell, Chief Scientist, Radiation Safety Institute of Canada
Address: 100 Sheppard Ave East, Suite 760, Toronto, ON M2N 6N5
Phone: 1-416-650-9090 ext. 25
Andrew Zarnke and colleagues have analyzed the physical and chemical characteristics of canisters of McIntyre Powder. Their results are now published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (see "JOEH McIntyre Powder analysis" under "Links").
One of the critically important findings from this research is that the size of McIntyre Powder particles is extremely small. McIntyre Powder was found to be comprised of particles that are in the fine particulate and ultrafine particulate (nanoparticle) size range.
Inhaled nanoparticles have the potential to enter the bloodstream from the lung and travel to other areas of the body. Future research on the potential health consequences of McIntyre Powder inhalation will continue, now that we have a solid understanding of its physical and chemical properties.
Since 2016, over 500 McIntyre Powder-exposed miners and mine workers have registered with the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, Inc. (OHCOW). A dedicated OHCOW multidisciplinary team (administrative, leadership, nursing, occupational hygiene, and medical) continues to investigate the possible links between workplace exposures and health issues found in this group of workers who were historically exposed to McIntyre Powder (aluminum oxide dust).
As part of this work, OHCOW's McIntyre Powder Project team is conducting scientific literature reviews on occupational and environmental exposures and health conditions, focusing on health issues found among the McIntyre Powder-exposed worker group. OHCOW has produced reports on their reviews, which are now publicly available online at OHCOW's website, www.ohcow.on.ca. These reports provide important information for workers and their advocates for purposes of workers' compensation cases. Additional reports will be available in the coming months, and will also posted to the OHCOW website. The OHCOW "Mining Exposures & Health" reports will be updated as new scientific literature becomes available.
A direct link to the OHCOW reports is posted on our McIntyre Powder Project website (see "OHCOW Mining Exposures and Health", under the "Links" tab on the top menu bar).
Thank you to OHCOW for this groundbreaking work!